Bengal all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed has shared that he wants to serve his side like Ben Stokes serves England, to become a trustworthy player who can rescue his side from the direst of situations. Coach Arun Lal hailed him “the heart of the side” who delivered in as many as 4 do or die games for them.
All rounder Shahbaz Ahmed has become the guardian angel of the Bengal side which is famous for faltering on the doorstep of a high stake game. Shahbaz has come to the rescue of the side as many as four times this season so as to carry his side the semifinal of the Ranji Trophy this season.
The young all rounder revealed that he would like to serve as the Ben Stokes of his side, precisely he wants to be the go to player of his side when situations become dire. Talking of his heroics, Shahbaz pulled off a Stokes against Rajasthan when he amassed 112 runs with the tail to keep his side’s knockout hopes alive.
"VVS Laxman, who is our batting mentor [at Bengal's off-season camp, Vision 2020], told me that he wanted me to play the role for Bengal that Ravindra Jadeja plays for India. That's an honour for me that he thinks like that of me. As for me, I want to be like Ben Stokes for the team - trustworthy enough to win the match for the team in all types of situations," Ahmed told ESPN Cricinfo.
Bengal coach Arun Lal was all praises for the young lad who has become “the heart of the side” in only his second first class season. Lal pointed out how Shahbaz has been winning games for Bengal in the business end of the tournament this season as he shared that his ability to adapt quickly and rectify his mistakes is what makes the gem he is.
"He's the heart of our team right now. He's the core of our team. He's single-handedly won us four games. The crux of the matter is when you're 46 for 5, he goes and gets 80-odd runs, has a 150-run partnership. When it's a turning track he gets runs. He didn't get us runs in Punjab, but he got us 11 wickets.
“If you look at him batting, he doesn't look very impressive, but he is full of heart, full of belief, and he adapts really well. If you tell him something, he tries to rectify it very quickly. He's very keen, very fit. His energy - if he's standing at third man and the captain wants him to bowl, he comes in running."